Resonating with “This is Us”

Every year during the new “fall season” of TV shows, I’m always trying to watch previews and see what show I want to invest time in to watch.  I have a good number of shows that I regularly keep up with and so anytime there are new shows I want to see if they’re worth watching.  From the first time a saw a preview earlier in the year I knew that I wanted to check out NBC’s new show This is Us.  Even from just the brief few minutes of the trailer for the show, there was a feeling that resonated with me about it.  So I made sure to mark that as something I want to watch.


This is Us is a show about the Pearson family.  In the pilot we learn about a couple by the name of Jack and Rebecca.  They are pregnant with triplets and when the time arrived they got two healthy babies and one that died.  However, there was also an African-American baby that was born that same day that was left at hospital with no one to care for it and Jack and Rebecca adopt him.  Come to find out that the three siblings (Kevin, Kate & Randall) are all grown up in the present day and the episodes weave through the past with Jack and Rebecca raising the children and the present day with the three siblings living out their different lives.

I think resonate is the best word when it comes to this show.  All the struggles and heartaches that these characters face are ones that resonate with me.  I understand and feel when these characters deal with pain, hurt, rejection, hope, loss, fear.  It resonates with me because I struggle with those same feelings.  There are few shows that can entertain as well as resonate.  I can watch an episode (as well as the aftershow where the creator & the cast talk about the episode) and have that episode stick with me for several days.  It sticks with me because I can relate to what these characters are feeling and experiencing.

Whether it’s Kate and her struggles with her weight and relationship issues with Toby.  Whether it’s Kevin and his struggles of feeling ignored or not valued as an actor.  Whether it’s Randall and his struggles with feeling accepted or whether to excel or be middle of the road.  Whether it’s Rebecca and Jack trying to live out their lives and sacrifice their dreams to make the best for their family.  Each story is real because it’s things that are universal.  We all deal with these hopes and dreams and struggles and pains.

It is telling how the show weaves the past with the present and shows that the same hopes and dreams and struggles are there throughout the characters’ lives.  It is the same in our own lives.  There are certain things that we deal with all our lives along with those things that we deal at certain points in our lives.

If you haven’t seen This is Us, you really should.  It is one of those few shows that makes you feel and makes you think long after the credits roll.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 103:1-5

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

In this time of Thanksgiving, we are reminded of what all we are thankful.  As followers of Jesus, we have a lot to be thankful for everyday.  Here in a portion of Psalm 103, David shares several of those things that He is thankful for that God has done.  He is thankful for the redemption that comes from the Lord.  He is thankful that God heals.  He is thankful that God rescues us and that God shows us great love and mercy.

All these things that God has shown to David, He shows to us as well.  We should, like David, sing out about God’s faithfulness and lovingkindess.  How He has redeemed us and given us new life.  How He has given us hope and salvation.  This week, let us continue to be thankful and grateful for all that God has done for us and continues to do for us through Jesus Christ.

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is the updated book list for the books I’ve read in 2016 with little over a month to go in the year:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Auschwitz:  A New History by Laurence Rees

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Thursday Quote Day: George Matheson

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” and to celebrate Thanksgiving, here is a quote from Scottish minister George Matheson:

“My God, I have never thanked Thee for my ‘thorn!’ I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my ‘thorn;’ I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross as itself a present glory. Teach me the glory of my cross; teach me the value of my ‘thorn.’ Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.”  (George Matheson)

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 71:1-8

“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long.” (Psalm 71:1-8)

This portion of scripture is another of David’s writings.  Throughout many of the Psalms, David writes and sings about God’s faithfulness.  He praises the Lord for being his hope and salvation.  He knows that the Lord is the one who is able to deliver.

David went through good times and bad.  He was a part of great victories and he suffered heartbreaking losses.  Yet through it all He relied on the Lord.  May we have that kind of faith.  May we have that trust in the Lord that He will deliver us through our sufferings and hardships  May we have that kind of praise of the Lord in giving thanks for what He has done in our lives.  May be, like David, be a sign to all those around us about who God is and what He has done.

This week let us take refuge in the Lord.  Let us have our mouths filled with praise.  And let us be that sign to many that God is faithful, He is loving and that He delivers.

Sunday Devotional: James 1:19-25

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”  James 1:19-25

The letter that the apostle James wrote back in the 1st century to fellow believers was one that was very practical for that time.  It is also very practical and relevant for today.  In this portion of the letter, James talks about several things that resonate very deeply in 2016.

We as a society are very quick to speak and quick to anger.  James knew this was a bad combination and made a point to focus on that.  Very easily we can shut off listening to people and just rant and rage.  When we listen first and speak second, we hear the hearts and minds of those around us.  Those that are in need, those that are struggling, those that are hurting.  Then when the time is right for us to speak, we are in a better place to speak out of love and not out of anger.

Those that are followers of Jesus know the truth.  We know that we are called to love God and love one another.  We have the Gospel to share and it is our duty to share it and not just hear it.  James also makes that clear in this passage in that we are to be doers and hearers and not just hearers.  There is a world that is hurting and we are to carry that message of the One who brings comfort, the one who brings hope.

This week, let us be quick to listen to others.  Let us be slow to speak until the time is right.  Let us be slow to anger and show mercy and grace.  And let us hear from God and do what He says.  That is what being a follower of Jesus is about.